We are thrilled to be designing a wide range of original, upcycled learning ideas, games and activities for you! Get to know Tiny Toy Co.:
WHAT DO YOU DO?
Tiny Toy Co. is the brainchild of teacher-librarian Rebecca Saha. We collect, corral, and curate tiny toy "debris" from families across Toronto, and beyond, to give it a second life as part of upcycled early learning activities. We design and create literacy lessons, and educational games for young children using upcycled loose parts for learning. Our original educational activities all come with lesson plans, including adaptations to make them less or more challenging for primary school learners.
We refurbish and extend the life of high-quality, educational games and play sets through parts replacement. Our "reverse bulk store" approach also allows us to combine individual pieces of great toys like Lego, Duplo, K'Nex, Jenga, Thomas the Train / Brio, Snap Circuits, and more, until new sets are created!
Together, we can tackle toy waste and create literacy instead of litter.
WHAT IS UPCYCLING?
Upcycling is the creative reuse of existing objects in new ways, for new purposes. The phrase "reduce, reuse, recycle," is a prioritized list. The best way to tackle our global toy waste problem is to buy fewer things in the first place, and to choose more carefully. Decluttering is all the rage, but remember that less junk in means less junk out! Tiny Toy Co. enters the picture when that ship has already sailed. Families everywhere have carseats, couch cushions, and playroom floors full of tiny toys. Creative reuse of these objects is even better than recycling, because it uses no energy or industrial equipment. Tiny Toy Co. creatively repurposes tiny toy waste into upcycled learning activities, diverting these items from the landfill.
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR TINY TOYS?
Our tiny toys are collected in donation bins across Toronto, Canada. We have carefully selected convenient locations that reflect our values of respect for the environment, and learning through play. If your house floor is a tiny toy minefield, sweep up the pieces and drop them off to be upcycled into educational activity sets for little learners instead.
WHAT ARE YOU ESPECIALLY LOOKING FOR?
Tiny Toy Things You Can Name: We are collecting tiny toys (from the teeny-tiniest to smaller-than-your-hand) that represent things you can name. Apple, baby, celery, cheetah, tyranusaurus rex, spatula...send it! Perfect are: dollhouse accessories, American Girl / Our Generation Accessories, Barbie Accessories (not dolls), play kitchen food and accessories. We'll even take broken bits that still represent nameable things! We love a good wing, tail, leg, foot, head, claw...Be it a keychain or a wind up toy, no matter. It's all good if it's tiny.
Pieces of Building Sets: Meccano, Lego, Duplo, K'Nex, Kid K'Nex, Magformers, ...Send us those three pieces from your couch cushions. Their friends are here!
ARE THERE TOYS YOU DON'T ACCEPT?
We cannot upcycle toys bigger than your palm, full-sized action figures or dolls taller than your hand, game boards, electronic toys, battery-operated toys, remote control toys, or pieces of plastic that no longer look like an object you can name. Note: We do not accept LOL dolls or balls.
HOW CAN I GET MY TINY TOY DEBRIS TO YOU?
If you love what we're about, and want to contribute, please feel free to drop off your tiny toys at any of the following (growing list of) locations in Toronto:
- DANFORTH: Oaks 'n Acorns, 1856 Danforth Avenue Hours of Operation
- DANFORTH: Little Robot Friends, 1832 Danforth Avenue Hours of Operation
- ST. CLAIR WEST: EcoExistence, 766 St. Clair Ave. W. Hours of Operation
- JUNCTION: Oaks 'n Acorns, 3217 Dundas St. W. Hours of Operation
- JUNCTION: Pretty Clean Shop, 3072 Dundas St. W. Hours of Operation
- MIMICO (SOUTH ETOBICOKE): Oak Learners, 394 Royal York Road Hours of Operation
- Email us at email@example.com for our mailing address
HOW CAN I COLLECT TINY TOY DEBRIS FOR THIS PROJECT?
If your school eco club, your play group, your circle of homeschool families, or your neighbourhood kids want to get involved, that's exciting! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll be thrilled to set you up with a shareable poster (printable .pdf and .jpg for electronic newsletters/social media.) Getting kids involved in solving the global toy waste crisis is a big part of making real change.
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THE DEBRIS YOU CAN'T USE?
As a green business whose mandate is to disrupt the global toy waste crisis, thanks for asking! We carefully research industrial recycling, reuse, and donation opportunities for every single item placed in our collection boxes. We do our very best (which is pretty darned good -- if we do say so ourselves!) to ensure the responsible redirection of tiny toy debris. Follow @tinytoyco on social media where we share lots of great info about how we responsibly reuse, recycle and redirect unwanted toys and toy plastics.
CAN I BOOK YOU FOR A WORKSHOP IN MY SCHOOL OR CLUB?
Teacher-librarian and Tiny Toy Co. founder Rebecca Saha is available for afternoon, after school, and weekend workshops with groups of school-aged kids (SK-Grade 12). Age-appropriate activities include learning about upcycling, and the global toy waste crisis through play-based, hands-on activities: sorting tiny toys, testing games and activities, working as a think tank to design new uses for tiny toys, and organizing a collection drive following the workshop. Middle school and high school groups can also learn about the process of running an eco business. Contact us at email@example.com for pricing and scheduling details.
HOW DO YOU PRICE YOUR TOYS & LEARNING ACTIVITIES?
Whether we have put something together through patient accumulation of "lost & found" pieces, or we have combined multiple sets to refurbish incomplete toys, or we have created a totally unique educational activity using upcycled toys, there is a huge investment of time & labour, as well as years of professional teaching expertise behind each Tiny Toy Co. product.
It's important to say that mass-produced, low-quality toys are impossible for us to price-match, given the labour-intensive process of rescuing toy pieces. Our pricing model model does list high-quality educational toys and books at half their original price, aiming to strike a balance between accessibility and respect for both the physical and creative labour involved in our process.
IS TINY TOY CO. A REGISTERED CHARITY?
Tiny Toy Co. is a social enterprise business rather than a registered charity. That means that we are a different kind of business, using our platform and a significant portion of our profit to effect social change. Here's what we do:
- Teach reading to emergent and struggling readers daily, in an inner-city public school, using Tiny Toy Co. educational activities,
- Run profit-free workshops for public educators and school/community groups on learning with loose parts*,
- Pay for the industrial recycling of toy plastics that are not suitable for reuse through our upcycled games and activities,
- Use our voice in the media, on social, and at community events and organizations to activate families' and kids' own power to rethink toy waste, for a cleaner future.
*See our "Workshops" info page for details. The booking fee for our Tiny Toy Co. hands-on educational workshops & professional education workshops is (a) to fundraise the cost of 1 large TerraCycle toy recycling box for unusable toy plastics, and (b) to run a toy debris collection drive in your school or agency.
Still have questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will be happy to help!